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Launch of a rural fitness campaign in New Zealand and Australia

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She flexed her biceps on the shores of Lake Pukaki and lifted weights in the shade of Aoraki-Mt Cook – now Kate Ivey is returning to her rural roots.

Ms Ivey is the founder of Kate Ivey Fitness, a business that started at her home in the remote Mackenzie region in 2016 and now has 1,600 members.

Created with the aim of helping women lead positive, healthy and fitness-filled lives, it started with a simple e-book which was later followed by the launch of DediKate, an online health and fitness community for women.

Initially, membership was predominantly rural, but that demographic has since changed and Ms Ivey is once again focusing on rural, today launching DediKate Rural in New Zealand and Australia, to officially start on March 21.

While rural mental health was often discussed, women were sometimes absent from that discussion, she said.

Exercise was “such a great tool” and Ms Ivey noted that more and more rural women wanted to do it for the mental health benefits and how they felt.

She was “just bubbly” about the rural countryside. Last year Kate Ivey Fitness did a lot of different challenges but, on second thought, it was too much.

So the team looked at what its core values ​​were and who it could help, deciding that there was a need in rural communities and it was a gap they could fill.

Rather than a whimsical photo shoot in a studio to promote the campaign, they went back to grassroots – literally – in New Zealand and Australia.

Ms Ivey’s farmer husband Mark helpfully rounded up a few rams, and those who were roped in to help also posed in a paddock with cattle. Then there were the blows of wool.

The intention was to capture the attention of rural women and brand ambassadors were selected in New Zealand and Australia.

“Everything we do is down-to-earth and relevant. Our brand is basically rural anyway,” she said.

Mr and Mrs Ivey and their three children live on the 4,000 ha Glentanner resort runoff block – the Ivey family’s property on the Aoraki-Mt Cook highway – at the east end of Lake Pukaki.

Although it might be a bit of a cliché, Ms Ivey said travel was the right word for her business development.

“It’s really been a journey. Getting known on social media is a huge thing.”

While she admits that might sound a little cocky, Ms Ivey said she never thought her business wouldn’t be successful. However, it had been both easier and harder than she expected.

The hardest part was juggling “everything” – combining business with family life and being a farmer’s wife – “because farmers are all absorbed in what they do”.

“It’s full, it’s non-stop.”

And then you always had to come up with new ideas and she was constantly learning. It took a lot of brain power to constantly learn and “juggle it all”.

But reflecting on the past six years, Ms. Ivey realized how far Kate Ivey Fitness had come, including exponentially growing its membership and expanding its staff.

The company has doubled its membership since the first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020; it was great to see people take stock of their lives and realize that, rather than ‘running around like headless chickens’, they need to make changes and find time to work out at home.

There were plenty of warm fuzzy moments, which usually happened “exactly when you need it” from happy customers.

Rural life was quite different now than it used to be. There were many women living in rural areas who might not be doing the day-to-day farm work, but running businesses.

It was amazing to see women realize that they could “create something awesome from anywhere” it was just a matter of taking that first step.

“Just start, that’s a huge thing I learned. Just start and before you know it, you’ve created something amazing.”